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Just Imagine


Published 1947


Animated character "Tommy Telephone" produces a telephone by assembling 433 separate parts.


Run time 10:27
Producer Handy (Jam) Organization
Sponsor American Telephone and Telegraph Co. (AT&T)
Audio/Visual Sd, B&W

Shotlist

Tommy Telephone materializes out of a telephone company advertisement to produce a telephone by magic. He puts paper slips marked with names of raw materials into a hooper and grinds out 433 telephone parts.

Ken Smith sez: Did you know that a telephone (ca. 1947) has 433 parts? The frustrated on-screen narrator of this film must convey that fact to the audience, but he can't figure out how to do it until he's helped by an animated cartoon character named "Tommy Telephone" (the AT&T advertising spokescreature at that time). This nuttiness apparently wasn't enough for Jam Handy, so the entire second half of this film is devoted to a single-frame animation extravaganza of a telephone -- its parts anthropomorphised -- assembling itself to marching music! Fun!


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Reviews

Reviewer: GE_Pretzel - - January 11, 2006
Subject: Delightful 1940's stop motion animation
Highly reminiscent of A Case of Spring Fever in its use of a pint-sized animated character who suddenly materializes before a middle-aged man's eyes, Just Imagine introduces viewers to Tommy Telephone, a plucky fellow who assembles a rotary phone through the use of an enigmatic crank powered machine. The movement of the telephone components synchronize extremely well with the wonderful music.
Reviewer: Steve Nordby - - November 26, 2003
Subject: 433 parts
Animated figure jumps from telephone company print ad to show how a telephone is put together. The telephone then assembles itself to music under the command of little ringing bells. Oddly entertaining and obviously not just thrown together as the motion of the parts is well timed to the music.
Reviewer: Spuzz - - September 14, 2003
Subject: I Don't know his name, but his face rings a bell!
A pretty amazing stop motion film featuring a rather funny looking narrator, and Tommy Telephone, who demonstrates in front of our very eyes, what parts are used to make a telephone. I was very surprised and quite delighted at this magical cartoon, bopping along with the music to the final conclusion, Very nice. A MUST SEE on this site!
Reviewer: RedAliCat - - May 26, 2003
Subject: Ring, ring--it's for you!
Well, I'm guessing this quasi-educational film was intended to be shown in school. All you really get is several names of what materials are used in phones (leather?) and repetition of the "433 parts" bit. The assembly is interesting, but it would have been helpful to understand what some of the pieces were and how they work together. Cute.
Reviewer: Wilford B. Wolf - - March 30, 2003
Subject: Bizarre little film
Sometimes films just have this "what the hell?" quality to them. This is one of them. Appears that Bell Telephone had a campaign promoting the fact that telephones are made from 433 parts and made from a wide variety of materials. Why? Perhaps it was postwar material shortages. Who knows. The upshot is this film was made to be tied with that campaign.

The stop motion photography showing the various pieces of a period phone being reassembled is well done and fascinating to watch, but one is never sure what the point is. There is an abstract quality to the whole exercise.
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